The machinations of a school bully played out on a global scale
The definitive narrative in the Abrahamic faith traditions centres around the notion of salvation. The Christian and Jewish traditions, in particular, place great emphasis on the idea that salvation will emerge from the least likely quarters.
This expression of the human desire for a new redeeming age is now being played out by reckless and chaotic Donald Trump, the most ludicrously unlikely candidate for the presidency in the history of America, yet he surprised us all.
Trump is a master of the art of manufacturing outrage, of the amplification of differences, and of playing the role of saviour from all that is assumed to be wrong with the world. What we have here is the narcissistic attempt to place oneself at the centre of things, obliterating all that gets in the way. The most worrying aspect of Trumpism is the attempt to silence the press and weaken the judiciary.
We are looking at the machinations of the school bully played out on a global scale. The world of alternative facts, of crass populism, and of a systematic lack of concern for the truth define Trump's crude pragmatic approach to politics.
American visitors to Britain find Trump an embarrassment. His inability to speak English with basic competence, his views expressed on women, and his scattergun rage against the world do not endear him to a very high proportion of the American people.
Overall, the limits of Trump's language are indicative of the limits of his understanding of the world.
Trump seemed to have tackled effectively the dead hand of Washington bureaucracy, which he refers to as "the swamp". Sadly, he has not drained the swamp, as promised, but redesigned it.
I didn't vote for TDs' huge pay rise
It's barely a week since we were awakened with renewed joy, hope, energy and positivity with the birthday of Jesus. Allowing this to filter through and anticipating it to reflect on our lives for the coming year, I felt renewed faith.
I regret that on only the second day of the new year, Tommy Marren on Midwest Radio and Tom Towey's letter ('Coping classes left to struggle on', Letters, January 2) both report the massive increase of over €3,500 for our politicians year on year until 2020. No vote of conscience there.
Surely this takes the biscuit when later in the day we hear that there are 600 patients on hospital trolleys, one at least for over 24 hours, and apart from the inconvenience and abuse of ill and vulnerable patients mistakes are made, standards drop and the work of our great frontline staff is compromised.
Add to this the homelessness situation which is increasing daily, and an Garda Síochána with its lowest esteem ever, reduced to invisibility. The list goes on.
So the Government thinks politicians deserve this huge rise and President Michael D Higgins has no conscience in accepting two top-of-the-range BMWs to the value of €200,00 of taxpayers' money.
One has to wonder if this Government has a grudge against the vulnerable of our society, considering that as we speak the Eighth Amendment is in the process of being hobbled to allow our unborn babies to be destroyed.
The reason why this is disturbing is that we are led to believe we must vote, that it's a moral requirement - well, one has to rethink. When I voted, I did not expect I would have any hand, act or part in supporting any of the above.
Of course, not all politicians fall into this category - many take responsible decisions we hope, like Simon Coveney, and to Sinn Féin's credit they are not accepting the latest pay rise.
Aclare, Co Sligo
The boy who cried 'Storm'
Storms seem to be coming with increasing frequency, and with names like long-lost relatives that suddenly turn up on your doorstep. You are cautious of them but unsure of their actions and what effect they will have on you.
In Galway city, Storm Ophelia passed us by with the greatest talking point being thrillseekers swimming at Blackrock.
Last week we had Storm Dylan which, although generating a bit of a breeze in the city, didn't merit any mention on the RTÉ 'Six One News' the following day because it caused no damage.
On Tuesday night, we had Storm Eleanor which, despite warnings from Met Éireann, took us all by surprise here in the city, causing widespread flooding.
Surely there has to be a better system of warning people of possible predicted damage, otherwise it becomes a case of people ignoring the boy who cried wolf too many times.
Salthill, Co Galway
RTÉ Celebrity Homes insensitive
On reading Geraldine Gittens' article, 'Senator David Norris' Georgian home declared the winner of Celebrity Home of the Year' (Irish Independent, January 3), I wondered - given the plight of the homeless and the great struggle many thousands have accessing a modest, secure place to live - was RTÉ a tad insensitive indulging itself in the making of this trivial programme.
It really does beg the question - do those who reside in the leafy suburbs have the slightest understanding, or empathy, for struggling fellow citizens?
Rathedmond, Co Sligo
Global politics has come to this
Come on, little men: 'My button is bigger than yours!' If you compare brains or hearts, I think it will be whose is smaller and darker.
Be constructive or stay out of it
After reading Dermot Staunton's letter on the issue of sexual consent classes, ('If 'yes' and 'no' are redundant, how are we to indicate consent?', Letters, January 2), one might be forgiven for thinking that Mr Staunton has never had to ward off the unwelcome advances of a male or female that is under the assumption that sex is on the table.
The problem is not searching for the correct word in a multicultural society, the problem is these "two simple monosyllabic words" are often ignored or misinterpreted which is why we have the word 'rape'.
As for the age of consent, while some young people are sexually active at a much younger age than 17, not all want to have sex and some might be under severe pressure to have sex.
Rather than engaging in reductio ad absurdum regarding Minister Katherine Zappone's efforts to protect our young people, Mr Staunton would be better off providing some actual constructive criticism or staying out of the way.
Ennis, Co Clare